The French word bastide means “a traditional country house in the south of France,” one which is likely dolled up in dainty garden blooms that waltz in a fresh spring breeze fragranced by butter (because, France) and homemade ratatouille – or so we would imagine. Bastide is also the name of the non-toxic, natural heritage beauty brand from beauty guru Frédéric Fekkai and his wife, fashion veteran Shirin von Wulffen.
Originally founded 25-years ago in Frederic’s hometown of Aix-en-Provence, Bastide has taken on a new (highly stylish) identity since Frédéric and Shirin acquired and re-booted the brand. This likely has much to do with Shirin’s influence and the aesthetic sensibility she’s developed through years of working in fashion and beauty. First as a PR pro, then as a fashion director and brand consultant, Shirin has worked alongside such illustrious brands as YSL and Tom Ford.
Bastide is the couple’s love letter to life in Provence, directly inspired by their healthy, seasonal way of eating and living in the Mediterranean paradise that is their own personal bastide. We asked Shirin to paint a picture of what it looks like to live well in Provence and we’re swooning over every fairy-dusted detail, most of which brings us right back to the kitchen…
How do you take your coffee?
I drink Marco Polo tea from Mariage Frères.
Lots of tea and a protein shake.
Bacon, egg and cheese bagel.
Food philosophy in one sentence:
One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well. — Virginia Wolf
Go-to juice or smoothie:
My protein smoothie. Frederic loves making green juice using spinach, pear, cucumber, carrots, apple and lemon.
Kitchen tool obsession:
Instant hot-water dispenser for refreshing my tea, and Frederic loves his juicer.
3 staples always in my pantry:
Lentils, almonds and Provence honey.
Fave thing to cook for friends:
We do most of our entertaining in Provence. We love to make salt-crusted Mediterranean sea bass, paired with a fresh salad from the garden using our own zucchini, tomatoes, figs and olive oil.
Wine or cocktails?
Wine! A nice Provence rosé when possible.
Fave daily workout:
In New York, I train two days a week with Dan Flores at The Mark and then do yoga one day with Hannah Casey, who is also teaching me meditation. In Provence, I usually swim, go for a hike and spend a lot of time wandering the garden.
Strange wellness habit:
Dark chocolate is my everything remedy. Before getting on a flight, I stock up on dark chocolate covered almonds from Maison du chocolat and they keep me happy on the flight
My favorite candle scent is Ambre Soir. For me, it’s like a Provence night, when you’re dancing in someone’s garden.
Making time to read this book:
Always wearing _____ lately:
Figue Amour. I love fig-based fragrances and this one reminds me of summertime with the kids.
At least once a week I cook…
If I could give just one piece of health advice it would be…
To appreciate, listen to and trust your body.
Room we hang out in most:
The kitchen. Every room in our bastide leads to the kitchen; it’s where we share meals and make memories as a family.
Would you share a healthy recipe you love to make at home?
2 medium sized zucchinis
1 clove of garlic
1 red onion
1 branch of fresh basil
salt & pepper
1 small piece of ginger
For the presentation:
2-3 figs, quartered
one portion of cooked white rice
To prepare the ratatouille:
Dice up vegetables into small pieces. Feel free to use a chopper/blender if you’d like for the onion, garlic, zucchini, pepper and eggplant – just make sure you are chopping them all separately.
In a big pot, cook the ingredients in the following order with 5-minute intervals between each one: the onion and the garlic, then add the pepper, the eggplant, the zucchini and finally the tomatoes.
After cooking for 25 minutes total, remove the mixture from heat and and add freshly basil leaves, finely chopped.
To prepare the outer wrap, use a mandoline to slice zucchini and squash into thin slices, lengthwise. Quickly blanch them in boiling water for 3 minutes. Strain and cool them down in ice cold water to maintain texture.
For the assembly:
In a small bowl, lay down the slices of zucchini and squash, alternating colors and making sure each slice overlaps one another, eventually cover the entire bowl. Be sure to allow the slices to dangle over the edge of the bowl.
Scoop a generous amount of ratatuille (strain the ratatouille first if it has too much water), into the zucchini-lined bowl, then finally add a thin layer of rice.
Complete the “wrap” with the extra length of the squash slices, again maintaining the overlapping pattern.
Tip over the bowl delicately onto a plate and add fig wedges for decoration.